London buying agency reports ‘considerable’ rise in off-market deals

'Clients prefer the exclusivity that comes with purchasing a home which has not been openly marketed and which many potential purchasers will not yet have the opportunity to see'

The well-publicised slowdown in London’s property market is driving a noticeable rise in under-the-radar transactions, according to Black Brick.

Black Brick’s Camilla Dell

38% of the Mayfair buying agency’s deals have been classified as “off-market” this year, up from 28% in the same period last year.

Before we go on, here’s the firm’s definition of “off-market”: Properties which are sold directly via the vendor to the seller; via an estate agent, who will utilise their contacts to sell without any marketing or brochures; and from buying agent, to buying agent.

Many vendors are shying away from openly marketing their properties in the current climate, reports the team, increasingly opting for a more “discreet” route (which also helps avoid the ignominy of multiple price chops being recorded for all to see). It’s an approach traditionally confined to the super-prime echelons, but they are now seeing sellers in lower price ranges (£1m+) following suit.

Interestingly, 100% of the firm’s clients so far this year have been cash buyers (compared with 46% in 2016), with the majority focusing hard on the traditional luxury post codes. All the off-market transactions have been for properties in West London (60% in W8 and 40% in W1), with an average value of £15.85m.

The buyers who purchased “on-market” opted for properties in SW1, W8, NW3, W1, W12 and SW3, a distinctly narrower geographic range than last year, which included N1, EC2, SW1, W8, W1 and SE13.

The average

Camilla Dell, Managing Partner at Black Brick: “Off-market deals have always occurred in London; however, our data shows that off-market deals have risen considerably in 2017.

“Traditionally, off market deals were for properties priced at over £10 million plus and situated in London’s golden postcodes, however this has now expanded right across London, with properties priced at £1 million or more being sold off-market.

“We have analysed the psychology of those who choose to buy or sell a property off-market and we have found that our clients prefer the exclusivity that comes with purchasing a home which has not been openly marketed and which many potential purchasers will not yet have the opportunity to see.

If a property is pre-market, our clients are prepared to pay full asking price to secure the property before it goes on the market

“If a property is pre-market, which means it will put on the open market on a set date, our clients are prepared to pay full asking price to secure the property before it goes on the market. We recently sourced a property for an American buyer which was off-market. He loved it and it was vital for him to purchase the property before anyone else got the chance to view it so he paid full asking price. Later, he decided to sell his London home as he was relocating back to San Francisco so we contacted other buying agencies to find a buyer for his Holland Park apartment.”

“Prices in prime central London are now better value and this could be why we have seen a rise in transactions in these prime London postcodes. Our clients are wealthy individuals who, despite the market uncertainty, know that London remains a safe haven which will always draw an international audience, regardless of changes in legislation and stamp duty.”

black-brick.com